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Management objectives and economic value of national parks: Preservation, conservation and development

By Jungho Suh and Steve Harrison


This article discusses distinctions between management objectives and economic values in the uses of National Parks. The authors use historical and philosophical resources in the presentation of ideas. The article reviews some issues relating to the foundations of National Park administration, describing the distinction between preservation and conservationism and their connections to ecocentrism, anthropocentrism and deep ecology. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has established a six-category system of protected areas to clarify the differences between various objectives for protected areas including National Parks. National Parks are designated for three primary management objectives with equal emphasis on each, viz. preservation of species and genetic diversity; maintenance of environmental services; and tourism and recreation. Secondary objectives of National Parks include scientific, educational, spiritual and aesthetic uses, which are likely compatible with the primary goals. However, it is often questioned whether the primary goals are able to coexist among themselves. For example, recreational uses are often in conflict with the preservation goal. The management objectives for National Parks can be rearranged into three components, viz. preservation, conservation and public use. In the literature, the economic value of natural resources is often classified into direct use value, indirect use value, option value, bequest value and existence value. This value typology has widespread a misconception that each individual economic value category additively counts towards the total economic value. In a way of avoiding this confusion, the economic value of National Parks is to be grouped into three categories. They are preservation value, conservation-based use value and development-based use value. This typology employs the everyday speech and matches the IUCN classification of National Parks management objectives. More importantly, this classification clearly reveals that the economic value of National Parks is not the additive sum of the component values, because of incompatibility between the values pursued in the management of National Parks. Multiple management objectives for National Parks defined by IUCN are increasingly being integrated within domestic legislation by a number of countries in the world. The materials integrated in this article will help administration authorities of National Parks to shape up appropriate National Parks management strategies

Topics: Recreation, Use conflicts, Anthropocentrism, Sustainability, Value typology, 340000 Economics, 340202 Environment and Resource Economics, 0502 Environmental Science and Management
Publisher: The University of Queensland School of Economics
Year: 2005
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